Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa believes the long queues for grid connections at a global level demonstrate the appetite and financial potential related to transforming the energy system.
He was speaking at the Windaba conference at the Cape Town Convention Centre, where he emphasised the importance of expanding the grid capacity to accommodate renewable energy projects.
He said the embedded generation task team supported more than 100 projects to clear regulatory hurdles and enter construction as quickly as possible.
“A survey of project developers conducted by Eskom and the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), and the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) shows that 66 GW of wind and solar projects are in development across the country.
This demonstrates a robust pipeline of private sector investment in new-generation capacity. Strengthening the transmission network will be key to enabling this investment.” Private investment into expanding grid capacity within the African continent presented a lucrative opportunity, he said.
The three-day conference focused on innovations and advance taking place in the energy sector and the impact of renewable energy on the economy.
Event organiser, the South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) recently published the results of the Renewable Energy Grid Survey, which showed a pipeline of almost 30GW of new wind projects being developed, which if realised, has the potential to contribute significantly to the current energy crisis.
Sawea CEO Niveshen Govender said: “Our ambition is for South Africa’s wind power industry to thrive as we pursue a common goal of harnessing the natural resource in a bid to deliver secure energy for South Africa. This will only be achieved through innovative thinking, a spirit of collaboration – across the renewables industry, government and private sector.
“The past 12 months have shown there are many challenges to be overcome if we are to fully harness wind resources and deliver them to the grid.”